UNK names Marc Bauer Athletic Director

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KEARNEY, Neb. -- Following a national search, interim athletic director Marc Bauer has been selected as the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. Chancellor Doug Kristensen made the announcement today.

“Marc brings tremendous passion for athletics, coaching and a positive student-athlete experience,” Kristensen said. “He brings a deep understanding of building a quality culture for competitive athletics and academic success. It is a culture that supports students from recruitment through development to graduation, helps students develop skills that will be valuable throughout their lives, and embraces strong ethics and compliance expectations.”

Bauer has served as interim athletic director since April 2018. The director oversees 14 sports with approximately 450 student-athletes and 40 coaches and staff members.

“I am privileged to have the opportunity and appreciate Chancellor Kristensen asking me to continue forward as the permanent Director of Athletics at UNK,” Bauer said. “I could not be more excited and ready to serve our campus and community with a high-level of character and class. I want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement during this transition and know that I look forward to serving our student-athletes and coaches. Leading a proud tradition of Loper athletics is a great honor. I have confidence that our future together will be even brighter.”

As interim athletic director, Bauer developed an internal structure to manage scholarship and operating budgets, launched the Loper AthLEADS program to promote student-athlete leadership in the community and implemented a performance-based coaching evaluation process.

A three-time Division II All-American at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and National Wrestling Coaches Association Division II Hall of Fame coach, Bauer led the UNK wrestling program from 2000 to 2016, winning three national championships and finishing as the national runner-up five times. The Lopers also won two national dual titles during his coaching tenure and 18 conference and regional championships.

Bauer, who was named NCAA Division II Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2008, directed efforts to generate more than $3 million through fundraising and donations for the UNK wrestling program while strengthening community relations.

The former Kearney Public Schools teacher served as an assistant professor in UNK’s Kinesiology and Sport Sciences Department from 2016 to 2018. He’s a member of the National Wrestling Coaches Association, National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and Nebraska State Educators Association.

Bauer holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary education with an early childhood endorsement from UNO; Bachelor of Arts, health and physical education K-12 teaching field endorsement, from UNK; Master of Arts in Education, physical education master teacher with a pedagogy emphasis, from UNK; and Master of Arts in Education sports administration specialization from UNK. He’s currently finishing final requirements for a doctorate in interdisciplinary leadership through Creighton University.

“Marc brings successful career experience in education and as a national championship coach that will enable him to recruit, develop and retain successful coaches,” Kristensen said. “His passion, energy and strong relational skills will also serve him well in supporting student-athletes, coaches, and staff as well as expanding relationships with fans, donors, and our academic community. Throughout his career he has been a tireless advocate for UNK and fundraiser.

“Marc has been an outstanding ambassador for Loper Athletics, UNK and Kearney for many years and I am excited to see how this will only grow in this role as our athletic director.”

Bauer was one of four finalists interviewed in February and March.

UNK Athletics Directors (1945-present)

Charlie Foster (1945-71)

Al Zikmund (1971-87)

Dick Beechner (1987-95)

Dick Dull (1995-98)

Mike Sumpter (1998-02)

Jon McBride (2002-13)

Paul Plinske (2013-2018)

Marc Bauer (2018-present)